It was not expected from him really, yet together with Jack Laugher, Chris Mears clinched Great Britain’s first diving Olympic gold medal in history.

Seven years after being between life and death in Australia where doctors estimated his chance of recovering from a severe disease around 5% only, Mears returned, pulled himself together and continued doing sport with more will power than ever before and it paid off.

On his sickbed, Mears found another path, as well: music, which slowly became his passion.

Today, the young man composes progressive electronic music and does DJ performances sometimes. He has become a true icon because of his achievements in sport as well as his strong personality.

After claiming gold at the Olympics and the European Championships, Mears and diving partner Jack Laugher aim for victory at the World Championships in Budapest.

The men’s 3m synchro springboard definitely stood out in Rio. Why? 

Beacuse the Chinese anthem was not played at the award ceremony for this event. China's dominance was broken by Jack Laugher and Chris Mears (GBR).

“After all I have been through in my life, it was enough for me that I could be there in London 2012. It was great and I was absolutely happy. This time things are different, we have been dreaming about clinching gold. Now that we have won, well, it is unbelievable really!” told the 24-year-old BBC in Rio.

Mears / Laugher couldn't believe their achievement in Rio

Silver medallist in the individual 3m event, Laugher pointed out the Olympic gold was special for him because he clinched it with his best friend. Chris and Jack have been preparing together since 2013 and have achieved excellent results on the world stage on various occasions.

Chris Mears was 3 when his mom died from breast cancer. His step mother, Katy treated him as her own, guided him, and she was the one who encouraged him to take up sport in agreement with his father, Paul.

Mears was a highly energetic kid jumping up and down in the family’s house so they had to do something about his crazy positive energy. Katy Mears intended to enrol her son in gymnastics first, however, there was no vacancy at the centre so they chose a diving club in Reading (GBR) instead.

Mears then pursued his career in Southampton Diving Club, and attended junior competitions as a delegate of this club.

And suddenly it changed it all…

Mears was 15 when the first symptoms of his illness declared. It was soon discovered that the young talent suffered from Epstein-Barr virus. The peculiarity of this viral infection is that it does not have any clear symptoms yet it causes liver and spleen enlargement. Mears' health got really bad and because of repeated dives the situation worsened until his spleen cracked. He lost two litres of blood which accumulated in the abdomen.

Doctors at Royal Alfred Hospital in Sydney kept him alive by various medical interventions, but the number of platelets in his blood dropped dramatically. His chances of surviving were then estimated to about 5%.

Chris Mears stayed in Australia for weeks, and was released after a while from hospital and stayed in a hotel. One day his parents arrived and found him lying on the floor. He had an almost eight-hour-long seizure after which he was in coma for three days.

18 months later Chris Mears entered the Commonwealth Games…

“A lot has changed, I have changed a lot, too, mostly in a positive direction” he said about this life-changing period.

“Music has found me and it helped me a great deal to overcome adversity. Every day I learnt something new, I played the guitar on my bed in hospital. Music energised me, turned me on, kept me alive. It felt like finding my true self. I put passion, time and energy into it, days went by but I never lost interest in music. It was like a wave I rode. I went with the flow. Music is another path I can take to express myself” Mears said.

“However choosing between diving and music is out of question now. As long as I can do both, I will do them simultaneously. I never plan years ahead, I live for the moment”

Reaching for the stars with new partner

In 2010 Chris Mears returned to the swimming pool, and soon he became British champion with Nicholas Robinson-Baker, with whom he ranked fourth in India at the Commonwealth Games.

Entering London Olympics was quite uplifting for him. His duet finished fifth, while in solo he was ranked 9th, with his last dive receiving the highest score of the event (100.70).

Mears changed partners in 2013, and started this incredible journey with Jack Laugher. The duet clinched its first medal, a bronze medal, in May 2014 at the FINA Diving World Series in Moscow.

photo taken at the FINA/NVC Diving World Series 

The first gold was claimed at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, then in Kazan 2015 World Championships, the pair took bronze behind Chinese duet Cao Yuan/Qin Kai and the Russians Evgeny Kuznetsov/Ilya Zakarov.

Then came the golden year

In 2016 they became European champions in London, then the two friends wrote history at the Olympics.

Mears / Laugher may well continue to write history in Budapest, also, since they are seriously preparing for their first World title at the 17th FINA World Championships.

The British diving team is composed of:

Jack Laugher, Chris Mears, Ross Haslam, Grace Reid, Katherine Torrance, Tom Daley, Daniel Goodfellow, Tonia Couch, Lois Toulson, Robyn Birch, Matty Lee, James Heatly